Okay- I have a story. A good one! I walked to the nearby mall to get my afternoon coffee when a man who looked vaguely familiar walked straight towards me and said, “Ma’am Gang!!” He was with his lady who was smiling just as broadly. I automatically reached out to shake his hand and smiled back saying, “Ser, kamusta!” As I tried to recall who he was or where we met he said, “Na-acquit ako Ma’am!” Then I remembered him!
Roi Gamalinda of our Maximum Security inmates painting class! Kasali siya sa KULAY Group of Artists sa loob ng Bilibid. Galenggggg! He updated me on his now-closed-case, the Court of Appeals overturned his initial conviction based on lack of evidence. So after 17 (yes, 17) years, he is now a free man.
I asked him what he was doing at the mall and he said he was going to see the Manila Art 2013 exhibit upstairs so he can learn more about the trends in painting. Roi has a good hand. When mega-celebrity Sharon Cuneta visited prison w/ us, it was his work that caught her eye, Sharon owns two of his works, he proudly says. I learned that he was so young when he was charged w/ a crime he apparently did not commit, it was his girl friend who followed up in court to keep his case from sinking down to the last of the pile.
Eventually the judge couldn’t even understand why he was convicted in the first place. If he had any representation prior to this, he didn’t have to stay inside prison that long sana. It was just a matter of someone doing the paperwork.
We talked a bit more before he went up to the exhibit and I asked for a picture with them.
This story reminds us that there is still much to be done. Pero at least happy yung story na magiging source of renewed resolve natin.
Happy weekend, everyone.